Dual Mustang Crash Kills Pilot, Instructor

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Photo: Durango Herald

Photo: Durango Herald

Two people were killed in the crash of a rare two-seat P-51D at Durango La Plata Airport in Colorado early Friday. Aircraft owner John Earley was reportedly taking flying instruction from Michael Schlarb when the plane went down shortly after takeoff just outside the airport fence. Earley, the owner of a Durango-area pipeline company, bought the airplane about a year ago and it was featured in a video by the Durango Herald earlier this year. 

Earley was interviewed by the Herald last April and said he wanted to take the aircraft to air shows. He was building dual time to satisfy insurance requirements. He also owned a T-6. There were few details available on the crash. The aircraft itself was built in 1944 and sold to the Royal Canadian Air Force as a trainer. It was totally rebuilt in 1996 and had about 700 hours on the rebuilt airframe and engine.